Publishers focus on core strengths

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Business publishers have come full circle when it comes to keeping a tight focus on their core businesses, said Seth Rosenfield, partner at media investment bank Veronis Suhler Stevenson.

"In the early days, the publishing world was populated by small companies that concentrated on a few primary markets," Rosenfield said. "The successful ones eventually got bigger, and then merged with or acquired smaller companies, requiring them to spread their attention across a wider portfolio of properties. Today, the trend has moved back toward publishers wanting to concentrate on a few key markets, because all the new media allow them to generate tremendous depth and expertise."

This trend is vitally important to both would-be media buyers and sellers, Rosenfield said.

"Most buyers today want to acquire properties to bolster their core areas rather than take risks on companies or niches that may just be riding a wave," he said. "Sellers should continue to invest in their expertise by doing such things as building industry alliances and sponsoring research projects. Yes, there's a short-term cost to such activities, but it will be recouped in the long run when you go to sell and can demonstrate how valuable you are to the markets you serve."

---Roger Slavens

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